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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 27, No. 14. 1964.

More Views on "Washday at the Pa" [Barry Metcalf]

Although I find this booklet unsuitable for young children—In that It reinforces stereotypes—It may serve to highlight inadequacies in the Maori situation for some adults. For instance, in 1956 census figures, only 58 per cent of Maori homes had bath or shower, only 51 per cent had piped water, only 48 per cent had hot water. This is partly counterbalanced by the 45.000 (out of approximately 180.000 Maoris) who have moved into brand-new homes since then. Housing standards are reflected in health standards. The Infant mortality rate for Maoris (1954-58) was 57.5 per 1000 as opposed to 19.8 per 1000 for non-Maoris. The Maori Tb death rate is eight times that of the pakeha, while four times as many Maoris as pakehas die of pneumonia and of cancer. Living conditions may be reflected in crime. The rate of law-breaking by Maoris to almost 34 times the pakeha rate and moreover, it has risen 50 per cent in the four years between 1954-58.

But the Immediate cause of protest by the Maori Women's Welfare League was not the statistical truth or otherwise of the booklet, but its offensiveness to the family whose privacy was breached.

Barry Metcalf.